Blogger and friend of Pickled Politics Tim Ireland has been threatened with violence by a group that has been posting his home address all over the internet. As Richard Bartholomew points out, one of the members of the group e-mailed Tim, saying:
“Iâ€™m coming round to your house in the week. Fight or no fight?”
The anti-Muslim group calls itself the ‘Cheerleaders’, and seems to have connections with an associate of the disgraced ‘terror expert’ Glen Jenvey, the man who fabricated the ‘Jewish hit list’ story (background here). By posting his home address they not only expose Tim to their attacks but also to those who search for Tim Ireland and find the false accusations of paedophilia planted by Glen Jenvey when he was trying to discredit Tim.
Hello all – sorry for not posting anything on PP last few days… just got back from the Labour Party conference where I was asked to speak at an event on how housing is used to divide communities. Short answer: build more houses!
Anyway… there weren’t enough free wi-fi places in Brighton to work at, so I couldn’t blog much here. Besides, I was running around trying to instigate a conspiracy to bring down Andrew Marr. Back now. No, I’m not going to the Tory party conference next week either…
That a BNP councillor could be incompetent and lazy won’t come as a surprise, nor are such qualities restricted to councillors from the BNP. Yet it is important to highlight cases like this, as part of the BNP’s appeal comes from the powerful myth that they are the only party that cares about local issues and what local people think:
“A BNP councillor has done nothing for his ward since being elected, residents and councillors say… A council spokesman said Cllr Golding has not joined any council committees, which make decisions on key issues in Swanley. And residents of the St Maryâ€™s ward say he has not been in touch with them since the election or championed their concerns to the council.”
If people were just commenting on his views, they could easily be dismissed by the BNP. But he hasn’t even bothered to join any council committees, which control the business of the council. Some people vote for the BNP because they are racists, some as a protest, but others do so because they genuinely believe the BNP put their interests first and listen to what they say. This is why examples like this are so useful.
The BNP has discovered who is behind the English Defence League (EDL). I think we all knew who it was already though:
“BNP leader Nick Griffin has claimed that the English Defence League is being manipulated and directed by Zionists to create a race war on the streets of Britain. Trying to distance the BNP from any potential problem, Griffin and his deputy Simon Darby have set out in an audio message their position on the hooligan-based group…
â€œIâ€™m going to spell it out,â€ his leader adds pompously. He goes on to pin the blame on those he considers responsible. â€œSpelling it out in simple terms, you look at the owners of the Daily Express, the Daily Star and their interests. This is a neo-con operation. This is a Zionist false flag operation, designed to create a real clash of civilisations right here on our streets between Islam and the rest of us.â€”
The Jews seem to control everything. Where do they find the time?
The film director Roman Polanski has been arrested in Switzerland, and might be extradited to the United States, where he would probably be jailed. Many have lept to his defence, with the writer Robert Harris complaining that the arrest was “humiliating and that “it strikes me as disgusting treatment”.
Without knowing the background, one might think that Mr. Polanski was some sort of political prisoner who had escaped, or else someone who had served his time and was still being harassed by the authorities. He is neither. He is a rapist who pleaded guilty to having sex with a underage girl in 1977, and who has been on the run ever since. Nor was this some teenage fumble between a fifteen and a sixteen year old. He was forty four when it happened, while the rape victim was only thirteen years old (and it was rape since children cannot consent), which Mr. Polanski well knew, given that he had to ask her mother’s permission to let her accompany him.
Ms. Geimer, the rape victim, now wants Mr. Polanski to return to the United States and live his life in peace. I think that this is very admirable, and I am glad that she has not been consumed by hate. There has also been criticism over the handling of the case. Both points are worthy of consideration, but we are still left with a case where someone has pleaded guilty to raping a thirteen year old, and this is what seems to escape many people.
Even the Daily Mail describes the rape as a ‘sex scandal’, which always conjures up images of married MPs having affairs with glamour models, not the rape of a child. Mr. Polanski has continued to be feted throughout the movie industry, despite being a rapist on the run. I’m not given to punishment for the sake of vengeance, but it is a sad indictment of our society that just because someone is famous and successful he can get away with rape in the eyes of so many.
It has been confirmed that Nick Griffin will appear on Question Time on October 22, along with Jack Straw. Good. This will give the other panelists a chance to expose the BNP’s contradictions and flawed policies, rather than just yelling ‘racist’ at them and expecting everyone to be impressed.
With the other panelists yet to be named, who do you think should appear on Question Time? I would like to see Vince Cable (because he has an engaging manner, is well liked and has a child from a mixed-race relationship) and David Davis, a right-wing politician from a council estate who has (rightly) established a reputation for being a principled politician. For the non-politico slot, I am not sure. Shami Chakrabarti of Liberty would be excellent.
I hope that everyone is enjoying what papers are now dubbing an ‘Indian’ autumn. I was gently and jokily admonished in an e-mail today by a Mr. Rumbold. He complained that because I wrote under the name ‘Rumbold’, and did not distinguish myself from other Rumbolds (by use of an initial), this risked giving them a bad name. For that, I apologise, and would just like to point out that ‘Rumbold’ is a pseudonym. I hope that will stop gangs of Rumbolds from tracking me down.
The finding from the UN investigator Judge Richard Goldstone that both the Israeli Defense Forces and Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes in Gaza at the beginning of the year has met with two predictable responses.
Response no1: Hamas says it fired hundreds of rockets into southern Israel â€œin self-defenceâ€. It rejects criticism on the basis that â€œresistanceâ€ apparently confers the right to behave this way. Response no2: Israel rejects the 575 pages of the Goldstone report (presumably without reading any of them) because the UN fact-finding mission was a UN Human Rights Council investigation, a body that Israel considers to be biased against it.
As Antony Lerman notes regarding the Human Rights Watch/WW2 military memorabilia affair, Israel has a nasty habit of playing the man not the ball when it comes to fending off critics. Itâ€™s presumably why Goldstoneâ€™s own daughter has given a â€œprebuttalâ€ interview where she says her father is â€œa Zionistâ€ who â€œloves Israelâ€. After HRW, is Amnesty International next? Are we set to be outed as a hotbed of Holocaust-deniers? Will key Amnesty researchers be unmasked, shown to be furtive collectors of David Irving DVDs? What about that Neil Durkin? Didnâ€™t he once go to an â€œOiâ€ skinhead gig in the early 80s where the audience was wall-to-wall bovver boys all in thrall to The Cockney Rejects? (Yes, but I can explainâ€¦)
It’s quite scandalous that by trying to shoot the messenger, both Hamas and Israel are trying to get away from justifying their actions during the Gaza war. And by behaving like Hamas in this regard, Israel only demeans its own status.
I don’t really want to get into the circular I/P discussions here – please keep those thoughts to yourself. This is specifically about what happened in Gaza and how both have behaved since then.
Amnesty have set up a page so you can tell David Miliband to support the Gladstone findings. Go on, you know you want to.
Actually this isn’t very uncommon. When people say that ‘British culture’ or ‘native culture’ is under attack from the ‘multi-culturalists’ – they can never define what they’re supposedly trying to protect, nor give solid examples of what they mean.
I wish someone here put Nick Griffin, or even Richard Littlejohn, on the same spot.
Richard Barnbrook, the BNP’s sole representative on the Greater London Assembly, has been found guilty of inventing three murders in order to spread fear amongst his constituents:
“The BNP representative is to be sent for training in ethics after he exploited peoples fears about knife crime in his constituency by inventing a series of murders. He was banned from B&D council today but escaped suspension from the Greater London Authority.
The BNP, however, are furious and Simon Darby has called the decision, â€œutterly vile hypocrisyâ€. The party are using the Baroness Scotlandâ€™s â€outrageous whoppersâ€ to help deflect attention away from Barnbrooks own conduct. Lee Barnes, the BNPâ€™s legal director and advisor to Richard Barnbrook, has said that the decision taken by B&D council will be appealed.”
Richard Barnbrook did lie about this. But we mustnâ€™t forget that there are actually people in Barking and Dagenham who carry blades, and think nothing of posing for pictures with them.
Most of the commentary written on the Afghanistan war is quite poor, possibly because the British govt has little impact on what’s going on. It’s far more interesting to watch what the Americans are doing and saying. In addition to the regular stream of rubbish that gets out outputted on Fox News, there is also the more intelligent discussion.
The Sunday just gone, the US Department of Defense released a declassified version of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s assessment of the war in Afghanistan. The Washington Post published major portion of that assessment. But rather than wade through the stuff, you could read the excellent George Packer’s opinion at the New Yorker.
The only surprise is the impressiveness of McChrystalâ€™s analysis. I was wrong in May when I questioned the appointment of a special-operations man to run this war. McChrystalâ€™s report is written in plain English, itâ€™s self-critical, and it shows more understanding of the nature of the fight in Afghanistan than most journalism and academic work. The U.S. military now believes that the Afghan government is just as much a threat to success as the Taliban. Thatâ€™s a bold conclusion, one that our civilians have not been willing to reach, publicly at least. And the description of the different Taliban networks is as clarifying as it is disturbing.
So this is what the general whom Obama rushed into the field earlier this year has to tell his commander-in-chief: it will take time, it will take more resources, we will have to get smarter. Again, no surprise. The policy McChrystal is working within was set in March, by the President himself, and it called for a renewed counterinsurgency in Afghanistan in order to â€œdismantle,â€ â€œdisrupt,â€ and â€œdefeatâ€ Al Qaeda. Obamaâ€™s strategy-review team didnâ€™t want to go looking to get America deeper into the mess in Afghanistanâ€”they looked at all the alternatives and decided that the narrower approaches wouldnâ€™t work against an Al Qaeda network thatâ€™s so entrenched and interconnected with other groups in the region.
In many ways Obama now stands at a cross-roads. He doesn’t want to spend the money or deal with the public relations disaster that Afghanistan is turning into, while being unable to improve the situation.
But it’s also right to say that withdrawal would only strengthen the al-Qaeda and different Taliban groups, who would erupt in a massive fight for control (as they’ve done in the past).
No idea what decision he’ll make. But we do know that he’s approaching the situation in a far more intelligent way than Bush, and has people in place who are also very intelligent. And this is why I’m dismissive of the many people who think that Obama is simply continuing Bush’s plan in Afghanistan. The whole place is a lot more intractable than anyone thinks – and it’s surprisingly easy to destabilise the entire region. I know what I’d like to do (stay) but it’s still not an easy one to take.
Also this week, the Board of Deputies has called on the government to impose strict conditions on Muslim groups wishing to engage with Whitehall. But [Communities minister John] Denham was resistant to taking a hardline view on groups advocating violence outside UK territory.
He confirmed he would be setting up a panel from the religious communities to advise on interfaith issues.
This sounds very peculiar. What are these conditions? Anyone know? I’d like to see what conditions are being demanded and whether those conditions then apply across the board with respect to all communities, not just Muslims.
On the face of it, it looks like the JBOD is only going to make any inter-faith dialogue more difficult if it is demanding that specific conditions of engagement apply to Muslims but not anyone else. That’s called discrimination.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signalled that Moscow might be prepared to soften its opposition to sanctions against Iran over its nuclear plans.
Mr Medvedev, speaking after talks with US President Barack Obama, said that in some cases sanctions were “inevitable”. Earlier, a Russian official said Moscow could support fresh sanctions if there was enough evidence from UN inspectors. Iran’s president did not refer directly to the nuclear stand-off in his address to the UN General Assembly in New York.
Much rather have sanctions against Iran than war. So the softening of the Russian stance is a welcome development. Though I get the feeling that hawks on all side won’t be very happy with this – preferring instead a hardline confrontation.
MixTogether, writing at Harry’s Place, is arguing that the government and NGOs aren’t doing enough to condemn communities where ‘honour’-based violence (HBV) is prevalent, and that simply introducing more initiatives and laws won’t solve the problems:
“This is a welcome initiative, but it gets no closer to tackling the real root of the problem. It is just the latest round in the bizarre game of charades the government is playing with regard to â€˜honourâ€™ crimes…
Why do Nazir Afzal and other senior figures not have the courage to say publicly to the known problem communities that their behaviour in these matters is wrong, and does not accord with the letter or the spirit of British law? Rather than attempt to educate and improve the lives of young people in these communities, this government prefers to wait until matters have got so bad that they cross into criminality and then prosecute families, as if we need further strain on the criminal justice system.
The NGOs who work most closely with victims of â€˜honourâ€™ crimes are also part of the problem. The funding they receive is based on their caseload, which means they have little incentive to try and fight the root causes of these crimes. Over the last decade they have done a fantastic job of telling the government, the police and senior judges what they are doing wrong in relation to â€˜honourâ€™ crimes, but you will seldom hear them castigating the communities where these problems actually originate.”
I agree with aspects of his critique. I certainly don’t think that new laws and more initiatives are the solution to any problem (though they can play a part), especially one as deep rooted as this. There also have been alarming incidences of cultural relativism (i.e. when immoral actions are excused by reference to culture) when dealing with HBV, most notoriously in the Banaz Mahmood case. I know MixTogether to be a principled campaigner against such abuses, and consider him a friend.
Yet I feel he is too harsh on some. People like Nazir Afzal have long campaigned against the scourge of HBV, and have been more then willing to criticise particular communities, such as when he said:
Richard Bartholomew reports that the Sun, which had claimed in January that a poster onUmmah.com had called for a hitlist of prominent Jews to be drawn up, has apologised to Ummah.com. The poster turned out to be ‘security expert’ Glen Jenvey, who fed the story to the Sun. Last week the Sun finally issued a correction to the story, despite Tim Ireland and friends exposing Glen Jenvey much earlier. This is the first time though that the Sun has actually apologised for its own part in the affair:
“OUR story on January 7 about a ‘hit list’ of top British Jews on the website Ummah.com was based on claims by Glen Jenvey who last week confessed to duping several newspapers and Tory MP Patrick Mercer by fabricating stories about Islamic fundamentalism.
Following Mr Jenvey’s confession, we apologise to Ummah.com for the article which we now accept was inaccurate.”
Update: Yup in the the comments points out the Press Complaints Commission’s reaction to the story, and it seems that no further action will be taken, at least on the part of Ummah.com, who were able to get an apology.
In a good piece, George Monbiot highlights the scandal of the amount of hazardous waste dumped off the coasts of poor/corrupt countries:
“It was revolting, monstrous, inhumane â€“ and scarcely different from what happens in Africa almost every day. The oil trading company Trafigura has just agreed to pay compensation to 31,000 people in Ivory Coast, after the Guardian and the BBC’s Newsnight obtained emails sent by its traders. They reveal that Trafigura knew that the oil slops it sent there in 2006 were contaminated with toxic waste. But the Ivorian contractor it employed to pump out the hold of its tanker dumped them around inhabited areas in the capital city and the countryside.”
He also shows that the typical response to this, which is to call for more regulation, more money for regulators and more laws, is pointless:
“The law couldn’t be clearer: the Basel convention, supported by European directives, forbids European Union or OECD nations from dumping hazardous wastes in poorer countries. But without enforcement, the law is useless.”
His views chime with mine. What we need to do is to enforce the laws we have, and if the expensively-assembled regulators are not doing that, they shouldn’t be given more money and powers. They should be sacked.
Quite predictable, the Jerusalem Post is unhappy that Ken Livingstone interviewed Hamas for the latest issue of the New Statesman. Some idiot government minister condemned him for it.
How shall I put this? I don’t think Ken has great new ideas or particularly represents the future. He was a good stalwart for the left movement, but he represents the past not the future. He filled the New Statesman with editorials and people you could have predicted. Neither am I fan of Hamas, which I think is part a terrorist organisation.
But they are also a political force in Palestinian territories, and it makes no sense for this government to keep their heads in the sand over this. Israel refused to deal with the PLO until it was too late and Hamas became dominant. Now they’re refusing to deal with Hamas, and guess what, even worse people are vying for power. How’s that for brilliant foreign policy? (via Neil Robertson, who made the same point).
Here’s what’s going on. A particularly loud group of people keep screaming hysterically when any attempt to talk to Hamas is made. But governments know they have no choice, so they have to do it covertly. This lets both sides off the hook and a faÃ§ade is created. The fact is we talk to a whole range of nasty governments around the world because we have to. This false state of affairs allows the Israeli government to pretend it has no partner for peace and keep developing illegal settlements.
Hell, even Tony Blair, a favourite among dhimmis, has said we need to talk to Hamas. The government should accept it has to talk to Hamas and make some progress on Middle East peace because the Tories sure as hell won’t (though Obama might, which is a saving grace).
1: Public opinion can be shifted. Think of strategies and stunts that could do that. The atmosphere started with the public fairly positive to Obama’s plans. But the wingnut Republicans started shouting at meetings and talking about ‘death panels’. At this point most liberals though – hah, this will never work. The public will see through how absurd this is‘. Wrong. People thought ‘no smoke without fire’ instead, and public opinion started shifting against Obama.
2. Facts don’t always work. Emotion does. And the media always follow a circus. Exploit that to your advantage.
Following on from above – the left thought that the public would never buy the idea of ‘death panels’ or the people who turned up to townhalls with assault rifles. But people are influenced by their fellow citizens getting angry over something. And the media follows the circus – with the result that angry townhalls dominated coverage, and people started thinking all of America was angry at Obama’s healthcare. Result – public opinion shifts.
The point isn’t that you push lies, like Sarah Palin has done. The point is that thinking that just by debunking right-wing nonsense will do the job is not good enough. The media plays the game of ‘journalistic equivalence’, which means that a lying Republican will be offered equal space to someone debunking it. People assume that both are simply two sides of a debate, and they’ll believe with their guts than facts.
3. Don’t defend the status quo even if you want to retain it. Go on the offensive. Obama should have said that healthcare is broken, and that insurance companies were fleecing people. He started off by telling people they could keep what they had, instead of telling them they were paying too much for healthcare. Bad strategy.
4. Discipline on your side is necessary, and so is a clear message. Keep repeating the basic message. Those who want nuance can find it.
The Democrat Blue Dogs should have been taken outside and shot. I kid, only half-heartedly. If the bill doesn’t get passed it will be thanks to conservative Democrats who don’t realise it will kill their re-election chances too. Obama should have forced discipline from day one rather than letting everyone pile in.
Jai sent me this nice little snippet about South Asians in Italy who have established a cricket club, and are having a ground built for them by Brescia’s deputy mayor, who is a member of the Northern League (the party that wants to sink boats carrying illegal immigrants):
“Brescia’s cricketers have not had it easy. They have been barred from the city’s parks because residents complained they were being peppered with cricket balls. Now, that has changed, says Safder Mahfooz – president of Pakistan Sports Club Brescia…
Brescia is not spoilt for open spaces – and getting hit by a fast-moving cricket ball can hurt. There is more – Mr Rolfi announces that the council has just agreed to build a permanent cricket ground on the edge of town.
“I want to see more Italian kids take it up,” he adds. “Cricket can help build links between the Italian and immigrant communities – and help us avoid some of the problems we’ve seen in the past.”"
OMG! James Macintyre from the New Statesman is left-wing and doesn’t like the Conservative Party that much! Tory blogger Iain Dale is absolutely shocked. Apparently James once also wrote something nice about Ed Balls and Douglas Alexander. Obviously that requires execution by death squad. The once proud reputation of the New Statesman has been tarnished (yada yada).
I have to laugh when I see right-whingers shout like this. I’ll briefly recount the background here. James wrote a blogpost (it’s back up now) saying he believed the Conservative Party was institutionally racist, given its long history of defending or playing down racists among their ranks. Enoch Powell is the obvious one, who once again Iain Dale thinks isn’t objectionable at all.
Daniel Hannan MEP, who kicked this round off, is another case in point. This time he says most of the anger aimed at Obama isn’t racist. I find this objectionable not only because of the huge number of racist banners on display, but because the organiser of the recent protests himself got caught out calling the US president an “Indonesian Muslim welfare thug”. Furthermore, around 50% of Republicans are “birthers” This isn’t a fringe this is a whole movement! Of course the Tories don’t want to admit this but a large percentage of their ideological allies across the pond haven’t quite got the post-racial vibes yet.
And this is my problem with Dan Hannan – he isn’t racist, but he’s quite ready to play down racism in the States as well as pretend there’s nothing at all wrong with praising Enoch Powell. There’s a difference between having some racist people in your party (all do) and actively eulogising racists. Iain Dale himself of course is no stranger to playing the race card… or the sex card… as do his mates. So this idea that only lefties do this is quite ludicrous.
Right-whingers not only play the race card when it suits them, but they also repeatedly play down racism. When challenged, they then accuse that person of being racist! (see the comments on Iain Dale’s post – they’re comical).
But I actually wanted to make a broader point here. Well done to James Macintyre for saying it how he thinks it, because I’m sick of left-wing journalists being tied to false equivalence. The right-wing media is full of biased and partisan reporting but as soon as anyone on the left holds them to account, they get hysterical and accuse them of being partisan (see above).
There’s a similar point made here on Gawker about Time magazine’s front page article on Glenn Beck. Let’s be clear about this: Glenn Beck is a whacko. There aren’t that many ways to spin it and any journalist that tries to play it ‘balanced’ is as idiotic as offering one side of a debate to 9/11 troofers or climate change deniers.
it’s up to reader to make mind up on dorries from the context. Lets not pretend it’s only the right guilty of this…
But what’s the point of journalism if you aren’t holding politicians to account if they misrepresent something? Why are left-wing journos so goddamn scared? If politicians lie, then they should be confronted. Is that so hard? If Nadine Dorries is going around pretending that the TUC is trying to stop her from wearing high-heels, then the least someone could do is point out to her this wasn’t the case and then get her response.
Back to the point – it’s pretty obvious the New Statesman comes with a left-wing bias. That’s the whole damn point. Leave the ‘balance’ rubbish to the BBC. To get hysterical just because James Macintyre hates the Tories and has said a few nice things about Labour politicians is laughable. He’s not there to appease right-whingers like Iain Dale or the Tory party.